Andis Company traces its roots back to when Mathew Andis was working at Mitchell Motor Car Company in Racine as a tool maker and he decided to leave and start his own business. John Oster and Henry Meltzer came to his home and asked to be partners. Andis O M Manufacturing was born around 1920-21. Soon their tool and die company had been contracted to make tooling to produce clipper blades for a hand operated non-motorized hair clipper. This partnership only lasted about a year. When the three split, each started his own company in Racine, Wisconsin. Meltzer started Master Appliance/MAMCO, and Oster started John Oster Company. Andis quickly developed the Andis electric clipper and began Andis Clipper Company and that eventually evolved into Andis Company of today, which was officially incorporated in the year 1922. Racine was a hot bed for electrical motors, specifically with the invention of the fractional HP motor. Local companies with the likes of Hamilton Beach, InSinkErator, Dremel and Andis, used this technology to make blenders, food waste disposers and rotary tools.
The advantage the Andis clipper had is that it was smaller, faster and delivered a higher performance than other clippers available at the time. This clipper was the first generation of today’s Master Clipper, which is still one of Andis’ most popular models. Production began in the basement of the Andis family home, and the entire family helped assemble the clippers. Mathew sold them door to door to the barbershops of Racine and the surrounding area.
American barbers quickly embraced the new Andis Clipper. Initially, Andis rented space in an industrial building to manufacture the electric clipper, but the company grew quickly, and was soon moving again, this time into a new factory building with 16,000 square feet. Today, Andis employs more than 400 people at its 160,000 square foot facility, located just down the street from Racine in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, where lean manufacturing principles have been implemented to ensure top quality products.
The Second Generation, 1938 – 1971
Matthew G. Andis Jr., an electrical engineer from Marquette University in Milwaukee, became president in 1938 when his father moved to Florida citing doctors orders it would improve his health. He made the move, promoted his 30 year old son to president and continued to live to the age of 92. Matthew G. Andis, the second president of Andis, is credited with the design of the still popular T-Outliner trimmer. Like his father, he had a background of working at an early age in the business and concentrated on developing the best quality clippers and trimmers in the industry. Andis began exporting clippers and trimmers during the 1930s under the leadership of Matthew G. Andis.
The Third Generation, 1971 – 2010
In February 1971, when Matthew L. Andis was 32 years old, he was handed the company reins. About that time, the Beatles were popular, and the barber and beauty industry experienced a huge downturn as hairstyles changed overnight. During this period, Andis expanded in many creative ways: adding hair dryers and curling irons to the product line; entering the animal market with the fast, powerful direct drive rotary motor clipper, which resulted in capturing the majority of the market; and introducing the first wall mounted hair dryer, installed in hotel rooms all over the world. It was becoming difficult to compete in the hair dryer market with U.S. manufactured models, and in 1977 Matthew L. Andis visited China to explore options. In 1978 Andis produced its first product in China. Today the China factory produces Andis hair dryers, irons, clippers & trimmers and has grown to 900 employees. The China factory compliments the USA facility, as the majority of volume is still produced in the United States. The greatest level of growth came from the creative leadership and innovation of Matt L. Andis.
The Fourth Generation, 2010 – Present
Matthew K. Andis was named president of Andis Company on June 1, 2010 at the age of 38. He is the fourth generation to hold the position and shares the responsibility of guiding the company with his two sisters, Marcia Andis, Senior Vice President, Market Development, who oversees marketing, product engineering and the European and Asian products; and Laura Andis, Senior Vice President, Finance, responsible for IT, finance, and human resources. Matt concentrates on operations and sales.
The Andis fourth generation is determined to be successful by incorporating the values their father taught them into the everyday operations of the family business, focusing on communication and respect. “The company is a tremendous responsibility; one that affects many families, not just our own,” the Andis’ believe. Strong bonds among the employees perpetuate the family-like environment within the Company, while excellence and integrity drive the performance of all. Ensuring continuity and security of the Company is extremely important, so planning for the 5th generation is underway to ensure yet another successful transition.
What lies ahead? Andis intends to continue to innovate with new products, to listen to what their markets want, to bring real value to all their markets, and quite simply, to supply products that make people look better and feel better. The fourth generation has developed a strategic planning process that is a way of life, guiding the Company along to its vision, while remaining true to its legacy and roots.
Andis continues to grow globally. Almost 80 years ago Andis introduced products to Europe and today these products are available in 90 countries around the world. Barbers, stylists, groomers, consumers everywhere continue to reach for Andis clippers, trimmers, dryers, blades, curling irons and flat irons when they want to rely on top performing tools.
With more product innovation, a long term strategy and the drive of a dedicated workforce, many more great things are to come for Andis Company.